Also known as Operation Ali Baba, was the airlift of more than 120,000 Jews from Iraq to Israel shortly after the founding of the Jewish state.The operation spanned more than a year and saved some 130,000 Iraqi Jews. Flying the Iraqi Jews to Israel lasted several months and was done through a contract with the Near East Transport Company and with help from the Israeli national airline, El-Al. The first planes flew to Israel via Cyprus in mid-May 1951. Several months later, a giant airlift operated directly from Baghdad to Lod airport. Operation Ezra and Nehemia ended at the beginning of 1952, leaving only about 6,000 Jews in Iraq. Most of the 2,500-year-old Jewish community immigrated to Israel. The success of Operation Ezra & Nehemiah helped pave the way for future Israeli airlifts of Jews from the around the world who found themselves in dangerous conditions.